Carlton has a serious selection dilemma on the horizon, and it surrounds Liam Jones and Levi Casboult in the backline.
Go back in time a few years and read that sentence back to yourself.
Jones has missed since Carlton’s Round 7 loss to North Melbourne with a serious concussion issue, but is set to return to full training and could be available soon after the club’s bye.
In his absence, Casboult has been moved to full-back and has had a Jones-esque career revival.
The 29-year-old was thrown into defence the week after Jones’ injury and immediately showed off what has always been his primary skill – marking above his head.
Casboult has done an excellent job of taking big marks down back at key moments, but his natural strength also allows him to take less mobile key forwards.
At the same time, you could say almost the exact same thing about Jones’ start to 2019.
After a disappointing 2018, Jones had returned to the form he showed early in his switch to defence thanks to the simplification of his role.
Instead of being allowed to roam and float, Jones has been used in more of a lockdown role, with Jacob Weitering and Caleb Marchbank tasked with intercepting.
Despite all of the above, Jones, Casboult and Weitering can’t all function in the same backline. They just can’t. The Blues are arguably too tall as it is.
Weitering isn’t going anywhere. The fourth-year defender is likely in the top three of Carlton’s best and fairest right now and has had a stellar season.
This leaves one spot and two players. Jones’ form pre-injury makes him an automatic selection but at the same time, dropping Casboult right now also seems unfair.
Swinging one of them forward isn’t the answer. The Blues are top-heavy with three tall forwards and adding another doesn’t seem like an option.
If Carlton opts to omit Mitch McGovern, who has had a run of limited impact in games, it would be hard to overlook Patrick Kerr, who has been impressive in the VFL all year, over swinging Jones or Casboult forward – which defeats the purpose of moving them back in the first place.
Selection headaches are a good problem to have and this is certainly one of those. At the very least, Casboult has gone from a player on the chopping block to one likely to receive a new contract.
On the list of possible selection dilemmas for 2019, this was not one anyone would’ve expected.